When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. Isaiah 43:2

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sweet Sunday Mornings

Sunday mornings in the Haner home go something like this.

6am: Someone comes into mommy and daddy's room. This morning, it was Kya. We beg the child, whoever it is, to please be quiet and stay still. The begging never works.

6:15am: Mommy says to daddy, "Are we going to try to make it to the 8am service?" Daddy replies, "I would like to, and we might as well since we're up anyway." This conversation usually occurs without opening our eyes and over the head of the child sandwiched between us.

6:30am-7:45am: Bathe, feed, dress five family members and load everyone into the car. Someone almost always stays in their jammies (sometimes daddy!) We are thankful for our casual church. :)

8:00am-9:30am: Church. This morning it was Pastor Jim preaching and it was super encouraging. His message covered the Beatitudes and the fact that the world's "way to happiness" is never fulfilling, but the ways the Lord calls us to live--loving each other, giving to the poor, kindness and acceptance, peacemaking, etc., will bring "blessedness" ("happiness" in the Greek.)

The kids then ride the church train around the church grounds and we go home, thankful we got up and went to church.

I then spend the rest of the day fighting with myself about "resting." I converse with myself like this, "Oh, maybe I should go to Target." "No, it's Sunday, I should rest." "Oh, maybe I should do some sewing." "No, it's Sunday, I should rest." "Maybe I should get a jump start on Laundry Day." "No, it's Sunday, I should rest."

You get the picture.

Why is it so hard to just rest?
Does anyone else have this problem?

I really like Sundays though. It's my second favorite day of the week.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My Happy Skin Tale

OK, here's my skin story...it's a sad and happy tale.

I am blessed to have oily acne prone skin! Well, blessed and cursed. My mom's genes are awesome. My ninety year old grandma has no wrinkles on her face. It's ridiculous. I wish I had a picture handy of her beautiful face because it really is remarkable. Can't hear for anything, but she has really pretty skin.

Anyhoo, hand in hand with this lovely genetic trait of wrinkle free skin comes extra oil...and acne...and as a special treat, extra acne when you're pregnant (which I have been pretty much for the last five years!)

So, I've tried it all. And sometimes it gets better for a day or two, only to worsen later. I'm not really complaining; I'm just glad I'm a girl and have makeup! :)

But, at Christmas time, my friend and mentor, Dee, made this homemade face wash and gave it to me as a present! When she first gave it to me, I was like, hmmmmmm, this powdery goo is not going anywhere near my face.
This is part of my holdover product name snobbery from the two income household days--if it doesn't cost a fortune and come in a pretty package, it probably is not going to make my skin better...


Since using Dee's magic skin cleanser, my skin has been soft and smoothe (except for the week I couldn't find it because it was packed in my vacation suitcase I neglected to unpack.) That week, I went back to my usual cleansers and sure enough, my yucky skin returned! (I feel like a stupid Proactive commercial, but seriously, this stuff is crazy good.)

So, I told Dee, you must provide me with this skin cleanser forever and you must make it for EVERYONE. God would not want you to keep this from women everywhere. I suppose I could make it myself, but I wouldn't want to risk messing up what she has already perfected.

I have samples if you want some! Basically it's just a powder mixture. When you are ready to cleanse, you add a few drops of warm water until it is a paste and then you scrub it on and rinse it off. Voila!
She dropped some more off with me this week because I was SCARED of running out!!!


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

End of the Month Pantry Raid Meal

Toward the end of the month, I always run low on ingredients to make my typical gourmet (yeah right!) menu items. I am missing tomatoes, so I can't make this, hamburger, so I can't make that...so I end up raiding the pantry and throwing things together because...well, we gotta eat! Not that we are lacking...

...Our pantry could feed a family of ten for months, but it doesn't always look like the tastiest mixture of things when you open the door. You gotta get a little creative and adventurous.

Oh and did I mention our chickens are really mad about the rain and therefore not laying but maybe two eggs a day between all nine of them?!!! I could just spit at them when I'm out there raking up their poopy! (Not really, I adore you girls!) So, that eliminates all our yummy egg dishes 'cuz I sure ain't payin' for eggs when we're feeding their little chicken bums every day!

(When did I get this frugal?)

Anyhoo, tonight, I mixed together in a large casserole dish:

A bunch of crushed up tortilla chips
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 container sour cream (I could go look how big it is, but it's like this, I'm sitting at the computer, and I don't want to get my pregnant bum up. ;))
1-2 cans diced green chiles
4 chicken breasts, cut up and cooked in olive oil with a little salt

I don't know what to call it, but it's yummy. I am quite sure my ankles will swell to the size of basketballs tonight because of the sodium content.

We had cut up apples, fresh green beans and some carrot sticks to round out the meal (these thanks to my dad who gets us delicious Costco produce without even being asked! I love you PAPA!!! Good thing mom doesn't read this blog, huh?) :)

You never know what you'll get this time of month in the Haner house, but tonight we got lucky!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

It's still not perfect...

After the last hair coloring debacle, you may think I'm crazy to continue doing it myself, but I just will not go to a colorist and pay $75-$100 for what I can do at home for less than $5 (literally.) So, I got out the old color box again today (I had to wait a while for my previous coloring damage to heal), but I tried something new this time...

Yes, I used the EXACT same stupid medium ash blonde. WHY? Well, because I got several boxes of the same color for $1 each after coupons. And, I am too frugal to throw them out...even after the grayish greenish hair debacle...
And I was armed with a new weapon this time so I was hopeful.
(By the way, thank you Jennifer for the oh-so-subtle note and Oprah magazine referencing how to color your hair at home. That's a true friend right there.)

Anyhoo, here's what I did differently this time:


It's the "hairdresser's color insurance," according to the bottle.

After touching up new growth, you add the contents of one of these super cheap little bottles (from Sally's) to the remainder of the color/developer mix, and pull it through hair ends.
This fills the hair shafts that were previously damaged from coloring and prevents them from taking on an entirely different hue than your roots (something that has happened to me on MANY unfortunate occasions.)
I still feel fat and I couldn't find my makeup today (thus the ever so UN glamorous picture above), but my hair is better now I think. And I figured I'd share this little secret in case someone out there in blogosphere is contemplating coloring at home.
Oh, and my husband loves it, which is perhaps the best part of all! (He may just be thankful not to have to explain his wife's strange hair color now, or maybe thankful not to have to foot the bill for salon trips, but either way, he was pleased, and everyone likes a pleased husband.)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Because I Could Listen to It All Day Long...

And yes, I know the things he stands for are not appropriate and his duet partner has made some poor choices. But, good music is good music.

Caden On the Move

Yesterday, my suspicions that Caden had entered the difficult and terrible climbing phase were confirmed...

I found him:

-on top of the piano (ON TOP!!!);
-on top of the dining table (drinking my coffee);

-on top of my sewing desk; and

-precariously balanced on the back of the toilet.

I also found...

-two puzzle pieces, a hair bow and a big wad of toilet paper in the kids' bathroom toilet.

-Caden, three houses up, at Dan and Elaine's, after our front door was left ajar for three seconds.

There will be no sitting on the couch with our feet up in this house for a good long while....

Piano Room Redo

I have been debating taking a piano student again for a while. But, the opportunity had to be just right, fit into our crazy schedule, and be OK with my husband. As it turned out there was a great little student interested in starting this month! I felt like that was really a blessing and it was at a time before Scott even got home from work!

The only problem, where to put the piano...

We had moved it to storage during the 2009 Great Hope to Sell the House ocurrence, and then promptly filled the space in which it resided in the living room with a beautiful tall granite topped table from my parents. (This table deserves a whole post of its own--it has saved many an "older child" from little hands in his/her business. i.e., Child: "Moooooooom, Caden is messing up my coloring stuff." Me: "Well, just go do it on the tall table!" It's great.)

Anyway, the other problem was, how could I teach in the living room anyway without shipping the kids off to another house or locking them in a dinky bedroom with a sitter?

So, here's the happy outcome...

After much thought, I decided the only possibility was to put the piano in Kya and Wyatt's room. That way Grammy could come over and watch the kids in the living room while I was teaching in the kids' room with the door closed. I think Scott thought I was crazy, but it worked out OK!

Here's the blank wall of their room before the piano...

And here it is after the piano moved in...

The kids and I are both so glad to have the piano back in the house. I am glad to be playing again and Kya started her own mommy-led piano lessons this week and is doing just great for a four year old! She wants to start ballet next month too! Ah, a little girl and ballet. It just seems dreamy.
Anyway, there's my little room redo for the day. All the decorations are from Dollar Tree too so I didn't break the bank! :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Scrambled Eggs in the Microwave?

Image taken from craphound.com

So, my kids won't eat scrambled eggs from the pan anymore--whether I put butter in them or not (gasp!). They prefer them in the microwave.
And oh my, has my breakfast cleanup gotten easier because of it!

Our weekly menu has eggs on it twice a week. (We have chickens remember?)

So, here's how we do it:

Spray a large ceramic or glass bowl with nonstick spray.

Add five eggs (our eggs are on the smallish side since our chickens who are laying are fairly young--our old girls are boycotting due to the rain (this is my Chicken Psychology degree at work)). So if your eggs are larger, you may want to only use four.

Add a splash of whole milk (I'm sure any milk will due, but this is what I use.) Sprinkle is some salt to taste (we use sea salt.) Whip it up with a fork until the mixture is evenly colored and textured.

Heat in microwave uncovered for 3 minutes and 33 seconds. I like threes. Then, take it out, and use a knife and fork to cut it up and mix it around (this is not a scientific or precise process.) Any remaining liquidyness (yah, I know, tell Webster) will scramble up during this process I have found due to the heat of the mixture.


Easy clean up and no yucky cooking smell in the house either! Let me know what you think!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Bins of Happiness

It's hard, even for me, to admit how shallow I am sometimes. That the purchase of clearance priced organizing bins at Target could bring such happiness to my soul is really somewhat embarassing in light of the tragedies around the world. But, it is what it is.

I have been struggling lately with happiness. Is it OK to be happy and joyful when others are suffering so much? I moped about for four days, explaining to the children that there were people losing their homes, their lives, their entire beings...

I checked our stockpile of water and canned goods...

I discussed the endless neediness of the world's poor with my husband on our date night as we debated ordering another appetizer...

We prayed...and prayed some more.

But, today, I just feel that I have to take a little break from the sadness. We are prayerful, we are giving (although it never quite seems like enough when I am watching CNN), we are doing what we can and trying to find better ways to do more, and I hope that it is OK to be happy for a moment...without seeming unkind.

So, in order to regain a little joy, we bought bins--we tried to do it without breaking the bank or being frivolous...but, we ended up being a little frivolous.

But, I feel like it has helped me take better care of the things with which God has blessed us. Clothes are now stacked neatly in our bins on two long shelves (it was laundry day today--again! Mondays jus tkeep on comin'), craft supplies, paper and coloring books are housed neatly in another, and the puzzles and games are stacked above all this so I don't have to pick up the pieces to the fishy game ONE MORE TIME for a good long while...

I open the closet sometimes on the way down the hall when I am a little sad or grumpy, and voila! Momentary happiness. I would post pictures of the closet itself but my camera, camera cord and computer are not getting along well these days.

I am so thankful for my bloggy friends with whom I can share sadness and happiness, and with whom I can join hands and keyboards to support those far more in need of joy right now than we...I am thankful for healthy children, who don't have any idea what true misery and need are like (neither do I really), and I am hopeful that we can remember, even in our frivolity, that things are fleeting, God is truth, and love is the substance for which we strive.

And I am also thankful for these...

Baby Bows and Headbands

Here are some samples of KCBOB bows. This is a large baby bow on a crocheted headband. The bows are $7.50 and the headbands are $3.50. Buy them as a set and save $1.00.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Loose Weekly Chore & Child Schedule

"For I know the plans I have for you, sayeth the Lord... "

Yes, I know Lord, but here's the deal. I need to have something on the books. I am not good with flexibility and spontaneity--at least unplanned flexibility and spontaneity, so here's MY plan. If you'd like me to do something else on a particular day, I'm open...

I do not really plan the day down to the hour like many of my similarly situated mommy friends. But, I do like to have a focus of the day in terms of cleaning, chores, and children. This way, if one day I feel like something in the house or family is being neglected, I am not tempted to race off and address it right then. I know it (or his/her) day is coming, so the need will be addressed in due time.

The Loose Weekly Chore & Child Schedule:


House Focus: Kya's Room/Laundry Day

Learning Time Focus: Kya

Before Bed: Menu Planning


House Focus: Outdoors/Garden/Pets

Learning Time Focus: Wyatt

Before Bed: Make shopping lists

Wednesday: Mommies Stroller Group Walks in A.M.

House Focus: Errands/Mommy's Room

Learning Time Focus: Kya

Before Bed: Church Night

Thursday: Piano Lessons

House Focus: Bathrooms/Car Wash

Learning Time Focus: Wyatt

Before Bed: DATE NIGHT :)

Friday: Haner Blessing Day

House Focus: Kitchen/Living Room

Learning Time Focus: Caden

Before Bed: Basketball/Sports Outing


House Focus: Entry

Learning Time Focus: Caden

Free Evening

Sunday: Church

House Focus: Backyard/Rest

Rest/Free Time/Visit Family

So this is our basic schedule. We try to address house chores in the morning and learning time in the afternoon before or after rest time. Most days, these are just touchstones to which I turn when my mind is blank and the children are going crazy...i.e.:

Me: "Agh! What should we do today?! Everyone's crying/screaming/running around like madmen!"

Me: "Oh, there's that schedule I made. Maybe I'll go see what that says."

It just makes me feel better to have something written down. As we move toward a more focused homeschooling effort next year, I'm sure the schedule will tighten a bit, but for now, this seems to work. :) What kind of scheduling do you do for your home? Does it work?

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I have received sooooooooooooooo many messages lately about contentment: the article in the paper, opened just to the page with an article about being satisfied with what you have in hard times, sermons addressing thankfulness, Bible study mentions of gratefulness and satisfaction, news stories on the excesses of American culture and how little we really need to be complete.

I found myself saying, "Lord, what's the deal? I don't need this message! Why do you keep throwing it in my face?" Nice attitude, I know, but seriously, of all the people, I have been content to live in our little house with our lots of kids and animals.

I don't complain...out loud. And I haven't said...much...about my monthly allowance that hasn't gone up in three years and one month...but who's counting? And I love EVERYTHING about my husband...except when he's late...and I love my house...except for the paint, furniture, bedding, window coverings...and I really love my body..except for the sagging ____ and the dimply ____...and I love my plentiful wardrobe...except that nothing fits...and I adore spending time with my children, except when I don't get enough sleep...I really do love being pregnant...except for the nausea, gas, and...OK Lord, I get it...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Monday Laundry Day

Picture is of an Amish House on Laundry Day

Someone asked me why I do laundry on Mondays. Well, the truth is, I do it that day because when I started learning to be a homemaker, I read that historically, Monday was laundry day. This is true still in the Amish culture, but was always true in the days of hand washing, wringing out and hanging on the line.

"During the 19th and the early part of the 20th century Monday was known as washday or Blue Monday. Without the benefit of a washing machine, running water, hot water and ’stain lifters’, this meant time consuming duties such as lugging and boiling the water for the wash and making your own starch and bluing for whiter whites and sometimes even your own soap! Laundry day was an all day chore!

Even Isabella Beeton in her Household Managment book circa 1861 for English housewives lists the duties for doing laundry as those of the ‘laundry-maid’ not the housewife.

For American housewives Catherine E. Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe call laundry 'the most trying part of domestic labor' in their treatise Principles of Domestic Science."

My laundry day is also an all day chore, but also a scary sight compared to these neat, orderly (sometimes competitively so) days. I pile it ALL in the middle of the living room and separate into piles by color. The kids then jump in the piles and fling it about, and then I separate it again with their help.

There the piles sit until they are all done. Sometimes this carries over into Tuesday...and Wednesday...and by Thursday, if it's not done, back in the bins it goes until next week. I used to be so hard on myself if it didn't get all done, but why? There's never a time when the hampers are totally bare in this house anyway, so aspiring to that goal is just dumb (I say as I cringe slightly at the remaining piles in the living room.)

Putting it away is a whole other chore in itself. Since we often put clothes away after the little ones are in bed, or during naps, we have moved all their "dressers" to accessible-after-bed locations. We have a full size six drawer dresser doubling as a table behind our sofa. It is just the right height for a behind-the-sofa table and no one would ever know it's secret function unless I told them. That's where the kids' undies, socks, accessories (likes hats, gloves, scarfs, tights, bathing suits, etc.) go as well as the majority of Caden's wardrobe--long sleeved shirts, sweaters, sweatshirts, and pants.

Caden has a dresser in his room for the overflow. Saying that, perhaps we need to pare down his wardrobe...an overflow dresser for a one year old seems a bit excessive...but the kid can dirty three outfits a day easily...so...hmmm, I will have to thnk about that...

Anyway, Kya and Wyatt's clothing has been moved to the old hall game closet where two long shelves are devoted to stacks (sometimes tidy, sometimes not so tidy) of shirts (long and short sleeved), pants and jammies (tops and bottoms are separated as well as feety jammies.) I would like it to look like a GAP store in there, with neat piles of evenly spaced clothing, gleaming with newness and cuteness, but in reality, if my kids dress themselves even once, and pull the shirt in the MIDDLE of the pile (inevitably) down topples the GAP neatness, so I just hope it all stays organized at least by gender most days. :)

Our old fogey laundry (which I cannot stand doing, perhaps because I am pretty much OVER my ill-fitting-because-I-am-16-weeks-pregnant wardrobe!)goes into dressers and our little walk-in closet, but it needs reorganizing BADLY! This is one of my projects for 2010.

As an aside, and because we are heading toward a day when we can reclaim our laundry water (more on that another time), it is really important to us to use a biologically and environmentally safe laundry soap, that also really works well.

Using Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent:

"Keeping your clothes and dishes clean is part of living a healthy life, but are you using dishwasher and laundry soaps that put the environment at risk? Phosphates and other chemicals in many dishwasher and laundry soaps can pollute lakes and waterways, kill plant and animal species, and pose human health risks. Learn about eco-friendly alternatives."

We are still committed to Melaleuca products for all our cleaning, toiletry, vitamin, and bathing needs. Their laundry soap is not only super concentrated to avoid waste, but also smells amazing and lasts a really long time. I have recently started using their fabric softener as well, all chemical and additive free, and feel like my clothes are cleaner and better smelling than ever. AND it's gentle enough to use on baby clothes (we use the fragrance free version for this purpose), so no need to use separate Dreft, or whatever other baby detergents are on the market (which all contain phosphates as well.) If you would like more information on Melaleuca products or becoming a member of this great company, please email me or comment here. I'd love to get you started with them.

So, there's my laundry day post. How do you handle laundry in your house?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Mommy Scoreboard--Point Value for Ramen?

Image taken from THIS blog

I can't help that I keep score. I think my whole life leading up to motherhood set me up for evaluation obsession...grades, exams, sports, law...and now, with mommyhood, my measuring stick is a little more amorphous. So, I randomly find myself assigning point values to my mommy activities. A good day is when I come out on the plus side.

But, let me back up a bit.

I went grocery shopping on Friday...to Winco...with all of my children. If you don't already know, I (we) have three children, ages four, two, and one. And I'm pregnant. The four and two year old are no problem...could shop with them all day long...except for potty breaks...and arguments, and the occasional, "No, we cannot buy choco cocoa puffy sugar coated cereal! I don't care if Ariel is on the box!!"

But, my one year old...well, you know one year olds. (Well, maybe you don't. They don't like to be still, be strapped in, be told "n-o," and generally, they would prefer to rummage through the bulk candy bins and throw most everything at eye height and below on the floor, especially if it is housed in glass.) So, Caden is no fun to shop with. But, he did OK, considering he was strapped in a cart for over an hour, straining to reach for his "free" siblings nearby.

Now, as I shopped, I did not "peruse"--I aimed for the things on my list, got them, and moved on. And then, the soupy pasta aisle came, where I had to buy all manner of "cream ofs" and broths and egg noodles, and lasagna noodles, and on and on.

We came across Ramen at this point in our journey. Yes, Ramen. Not particularly significant you may be thinking? But wait. My saga continues. You see, I have a long held dispassion for Ramen. I see parents stockpiling the stuff in their carts, I automatically think, "Sad, sad, no nutritional sense, or just very poor." I know, it's embarassing to admit. I'm not proud of it. I have also at times thought, "Oh dear, they are going to get so fat and depressed eating that stuff."

I believe it all started when I read some nutritionist's column lamenting the horror of the Ramen eating phenomenon among college students. See this blog for an interesting Ramen read.

Anyway, I looked at the Ramen, and suddenly, my insane pregnant brain said, "YOU MUST EAT THAT RIGHT AWAY!" I couldn't fight it. My logical mind was consumed with correcting, excusing, supervising and hushing my children so it couldn't help me. AND IT WAS ONLY 15 CENTS!!!! 15 CENTS!! So, I bought the Ramen--10 of them.

We finished our shopping, which I was glad to only be doing once a month! And we got some amazing deals, including the Ramen.

So, back to the mommy scoreboard.

Yesterday, I played Old Maid with Kya and Wyatt--four games! I think that's about 20 points. I also did Kya's sight words with her during the boys' nap...10 points. Then, later, we all played a rousing game of Dr. Seuss Alphabet Twister. 15 points! We read books AND played outside in the afternoon (brrrrr.) 30 more points.

But then...

For dinner...

Instead of the Nutritious Tuna Casserole on the Menu Plan...

We had...


Now, food is worth a lot in my little mommy scoreboard game. But, this little fiasco, I was not sure how to score. As I ate it, and examined the ingredients list, and thought of the sad families I had judged all these years...eek! I gave myself...negative 116. And that was probably a little generous. I can't believe I fed this to my children! It really wasn't good...well, maybe it was a little good. I didn't even put any vegetables in it. Ramen and lemonade. That was our dinner. And they (we) ate up every last bite...of the five packages.

Total for the day: -41 (all because of the stupid nutritionally void Ramen! which belongs in THIS pile at my friend RAQUEL's house.)

Five more packages in the cupboard...

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Death of Our Dream...

Ok, that sounds a little dramatic, but seriously. Here's how the story goes...

Scott and I dreamed a little dream of moving to the country. The first home we found that was affordable and on acreage didn't work out, for a million reasons... parents hated the idea, it was next to a big ol' dump, questionable water supply, blah blah blah, but we loved it.

THEN, the chance of a lifetime came; a lease of land at the ranch where we work in the summers with an acre or two, a mobile home, no need to break the bank to get set up, and the parents were OK with the idea! It was in a homeschooling mecca of sorts with several great homeschooling families nearby and LOTS of outdoor activities (archery, a lake, climbing wall, tons of animals, etc. etc.) Scott and I were so convinced this was it!

We planned everything around this place. We prayed over the land weekly, sometimes daily. I'm embarrassed to say I even took a little dirt in a glass jar to put on the counter and pray over at home. We brought our family out to survey the land. We took our compost out in the middle of the land and turned it in with our very own shovels, we contemplated where the trees should be planted in relation to the one day dream home we would build...

We emailed and spoke to the owner, who has become a friend in the past few years, about some details, he said it was just a matter of time before our dream became a reality!!! And he hoped Scott could manage some of the rentals at their ski ranch property next door! Double hurray!!!

We planned some more. We spent date nights talking about the potential ups and downs of country living.

We emailed the owners a couple more questions...we bought a trailer hitch (that didn't fit)...

...and we waited...a month...the owner emailed back and answered our questions, but didn't give us any kind of time frame.

We emailed him again (the plan wasn't to go into effect until summer anyway, so no hurry)...we refinanced our home so we could more easily find renters to cover the mortgage while we lived the country life.

and we waited...another month...and a half...

So, Sunday, before church, Scott checked his email, thinking nothing would be there--still...then says to me, "Ready to start the year off with some bad news?"

...and there it was...an email indicating the owner could no longer commit to our discussed plans and had hit a rough patch which would require him to sell the land in question for other purposes...

The end.

Sad story, huh? Except, I don't feel too sad strangely. I feel a little relieved. I feel like we can sink our resources and mental energy into this home now and really focus our energy here. I still think we are destined for country living one day, but for now, here we are...and here we will make the best of things. And who knows what woes God is protecting us from through this little turn of events? Romans 8:28 means ALL news is good news for those that love Him, right?

And here's where I got a little selfish...I hadn't even considered until now that our focus should be the owner and his family not our own silly "plans." What kind of rough patch must they be in to have to sell their beloved land? So, we are praying for them, and trying to keep some perspective about all this...after all, we have a fine home with healthy kids, and plenty of food...and only 1600 sq. ft. to clean, 8,800 sq. ft. to farm. Perhaps God intends for us to use our time in a more focused, non-overwhelming way with baby four on the way...

I look forward to birthing a new dream and letting this one go...after a sufficient mourning period of course.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Easy Clam Chowder Recipe

For Christmas, my sweet hubby got me a cookbook from the BHS Home-Ec department titled, "No More Than Five Ingredients." I was skeptical when I saw the title, but have been super impressed with the recipes thus far and menu planning is so much easier now because my shopping list is shorter and my cooking time is dramatically decreased with these recipes. I will post my menu plan and shopping list later. (I only spent $150 at Winco for my menu plan and extra food items this month!!!!)

Anyway, I tried an Easy Clam Chowder recipe today from the cookbook, changing a few things here and there, and came up with this one. It was YUMMY! Even picky Wyatt ate a whole bowl! It's not as hearty as some chowder recipes I've tried, but it is fast, cheap, makes A LOT, and is yummy...perfect for a busy mama!

Tara's Easy Clam Chowder

6 slices bacon

1/2 large sweet onion

2 cans cream of potato soup

3 soup cans milk

*1 1/2 cans minced clams, undrained

(*2 cans would be a little too much fishiness for us I think)

*butter optional

Cook up the bacon in the microwave or large skillet (or soup pot if you don't have a large skillet) until crispy. Drain fat (reserve some if sauteing onion in bacon fat). Mince bacon when cooled. Mince the 1/2 onion and saute it in butter or 2 Tbsp. bacon fat until transparent (I use butter because I love butter). In the same large skillet (or soup pot), add potato soup, milk, clams, and clam broth to sauteed onions and bacon. Heat on low-medium while stirring, but DO NOT BOIL. If you are worried about it boiling, just stir it up in the pan (or pot) and heat individual bowls in the microwave. Season with salt, pepper, and more butter to taste (we don't have to add anything.)

Storing soup: I made this soup in a large skillet and transferred it to a bean pot (a big ceramic pot with a lid) to keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Reheating soup: Milk-based soups do not reheat well on the stove I've found, but do well reheating in the microwave.

This recipe will serve my family (three small children and two adults) dinner twice with a small bowl each for lunch leftovers. I made a loaf of fresh bread to go with it, and intended to add some veggies to the meal, but forgot. Some nice steamed broccoli and caluiflower would be nice with it though.

I'd say it makes apx. 8-10 full servings.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Haner Kitchen Plans for 2010

As 2010 entered in, Scott and I got out our trusty notepads to begin our home improvements list for the year. I am so excited because we have three major events this year which will help motivate us to actually complete the items on the list!!
1) New baby;
2) Homeschooling Kya officially beginning in the Fall; and
3) Christmas at our house! (With regard to this motivational item, if you are part of our family reading this, we would really like to do Christmas at our house this year and have brunch and family traditions/games after our morning festivities! We'd also like to do a caroling night and CALM night; More info to come!)
Anyway, here is the "Haner Kitchen To Do List for 2010:"
1) Convert corner nook desk to Kya's independent learning area;
2) Get a corner nook table with bench to add seating to our kitchen (we love this one from Ace Hardware);
3) Restyle the kitchen to be a more pleasant place (inspiration will be the french country image above for color and style.) This item has its own separate sublist for mommy, including creating fabric accents for windows, benches, a wallhanging, and fabric trimmed chalkboard and white boards for Kya's corner.
Oh, I am just giddy about starting these projects. Our family practically lives in the kitchen and having it be a beautiful, practical sanctuary for study, conversation, and meal time is just so exciting!
OK, here's my poll for the day. We would like a wonderful saying to put on the kitchen wall; I like the one pictured, but think perhaps I could find something even more inspiring. What do you think?